Golf Fitness through Yoga
For over two decades I have been teaching yoga to a diverse clientele, ranging from high level professional athletes to octogenarians. Regardless of age and fitness level, the initial visit is often prompted by back pain. At this point in the quest to overcome their suffering the buzz words “work on your core for a stronger back” have almost become a mantra.
My question to them is, “what does working your core really mean?” Abdominal crunches? Pulling in your stomach? Stretching your core? Let's talk about this important key to golf fitness.
When working your “core” there are some key components to consider:-
|•||Core stability and strength should target all your abdominal muscles including the rectus, oblique and transverse abdominus muscles.|
|•||Core stability and strength needs to include the muscles of your back including erector spinae and rhomboid muscles.|
|•||The glutes and muscles involved in hip flexion and extension should be considered in your core program as well.|
|•||Proper breathing strategies and the position of the diaphragm affects your core stability.|
|•||First and foremost, learn how to activate your pelvic floor so you build your core strength from the inside out.|
The following yoga poses work the abdominals, back muscles, and glutes. Focus on pelvic floor activation and deep inhalations and exhalations while practicing the poses. Maintain a slight activation of your pelvic floor and pull your navel toward your spine.
Let’s get started...
Begin on all fours, hands placed directly under the shoulders and hips over knees. Spread fingers as wide as possible. On the exhale, draw the navel towards the spine, pressing the spine towards the ceiling as the buttocks engage. Tuck the chin into the chest, stretching the upper back. On the inhale, drop the spine towards the floor, paying attention to press the thoracic spine towards the floor, shoulders roll back.
Repeat 7-10 times, coordinating breath with the movement.
EXTENDED TABLE TO ABDOMINAL CRUNCH
Begin on all fours, hands placed directly under the shoulders and hips over knees. On the inhale, extend the right leg back at hip level and extend the left arm forward with the thumb pointed up. Keep hips parallel to the floor and flex the right foot. On the exhale, draw the navel to the spine while pulling the left elbow and the right knee in.
MODIFIED COBRA POSE
Lying on the stomach, spread the fingers wide and place them directly under the shoulders. Exhale squeezing the legs together to activate the glutes and quadriceps. Inhale lifting the chest off of the floor keeping the elbows bent. Focus on activating the rhomboid muscles keeping the shoulders moving down away from the ears.
THORACIC MOBILITY POSE
Begin on the right side, legs placed at a 90 degree angle to the body. Place a towel under the head so the neck is supported. Bring the palms together. Inhale opening the hands, rolling the left shoulder blade to the floor while keeping the knees in place. Exhale returning to the start position.
Lie on the back with arms perpendicular to the body, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise the feet slightly and inhale as you bring the legs to the right, keeping the shoulders in contact with the floor. On the exhale, initiating the movement from the oblique abdominal muscles bring the legs back to the center starting position.
For more of a challenge, lift legs off the floor with the knees at a 90 degree angle.